By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations and stakeholders have again called on the Akwa Ibom State Government to approve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policies in the state to engender healthy living.
The organisations include African Human Devtelopment Center, Better Future Initiative, Akwa-Cross Sustainable Development Community Association, Garden Initiative and NEWSAN Mandate.
Project Director, Ibom WASH+, Prof Gabriel Umoh , spoke on behalf the groups at a 3-day capacity training for Journalists and critical stakeholders on WASH held at Eket, Akwa Ibom State funded by USAID.
The training was put together to enable journalists tell their WASH stories in a compelling manners through innovative, awareness-raising materials having a educational, information, behaviour changing and recreational content around in Akwa Ibom state.
Umoh who doubles as the Chief Operating Officer, African Human Development Center underlined the approval of the policies and monitoring and evaluation framework.
Besides, he urged the state government to domesticate the Executive Order 009 by President Muhammadu Buhari mandating all sectors in the country to be open defaecation free by 2025.
In his words, ” We came together to support Akwa Ibom state to reform WASH sector, as we all know WASH impacts on all facets of life including health, Education, Agriculture etc.
“Son in the same vein, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided the content for us to work to reform the WASH sector in Akwa Ibom state.
“So we started the practical implementation of the project in February 2002, our objective is to create awareness about the Water and sanitation hygiene situation of Akwa Ibom state…
“Push for development and approval of WASH policy framework by state executive council, and also to help develop and get the council to approve the WASH Monitoring and Evaluation…
“Because we can’t continue to work without accessing our selves to know if we are doing well on the nature of our intervention.
“The Nigerian President, His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari in 2019 had sign into law Executive Order 009, mandating all sectors in Nigeria to be open defecation free, so one of our objective is to ensure that Akwa Ibom is open defecation free by 2025.
“We will ensure that the state has open deification free road map, we are glad to work with you especially those ministries related to WASH…
“Akwa Ibom State Rural water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Akwa Ibom Water Company Ltd, Ministry of Land and Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, etc.
“I most thank the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel, for passing into law the WASH sector bill in July 2022…
“But there are some other important documents derived from this one to improve WASH sector, and they are the WASH Policy, WASH M&E frame work and the WASH project roadmap.
“These important documents are awaiting the approval of the state executive council, we have gone far in the progress but we know that we can’t do all this alone because we know how important the role of media is…
“That is why we call u today to come and see how we can work together to see how we can improve the WASH sector. “